Where To Dine

Dining out on Stewart Island barely warrants a separate section. The relatively new Church Hill Café & Restaurant, 36 Kamahi Rd. (& 03/219-1323), beside the Presbyterian Manse on the hill overlooking Oban, is not, according to local reports, quite as good as everyone had hoped, but I've heard others say it is surprisingly good and the seafood is to be highly recommended. It's open daily 10:30am to late. You might get tastier and cheaper food at the Lighthouse Wine Bar, 10 Main Rd. (& 03/219-1208), or at Boardwalk Café & Bar, located upstairs at the wharf (& 03/219-1470). The latter is nothing fancy, but you'll be right in the island fishing atmosphere and you get good sea views. Another new feature is seasonal KaiKart Takeaways, a mobile caravan on Ayr Street, beside the museum and school (& 03/219-1225). It's open daily from noon to 2pm and 5pm until late during summer, providing fish and chips, hamburgers, and assorted takeaways.

Justcafe (finds CAFE/PIZZA You can usually get good espresso, soups, sandwiches, and sweet things here, along with pizzas. It's a lifesaver for trampers and everyone else who visits the island.

6 Main Rd., P.O. Box 111, Oban, Stewart Island. & 03/219-1208. Menu items NZ$10-$20 (US$5.50-$11). No credit cards. Nov-Apr daily 9am-6pm.

South Sea Hotel Dining Room Overrated SEAFOOD Here you are on an island that boasts some of the best fish around—and the most established restaurant on the island doesn't really do it justice. On top of that, it charges city prices for meals that may be big, but just don't measure up in the flair department. If you like plain and hearty, though, you won't leave hungry. The scampi supreme, which includes local whole scampi and scampi tails, salmon terrine, and paua pickle, surrounded by green-lipped mussels and slipper lobsters, could be one offering to tempt the seafood connoisseur. I wasn't prepared to pay NZ$45 (US$25) for it, though. The atmosphere here is more colorful than the food: It's a social center for locals and travelers alike.

South Sea Hotel, Oban, Stewart Island. & 03/219-1059. Lunch NZ$12-$20 (US$6.60-$11); dinner NZ$22-$45 (US$12-$25). AE, MC, V. Daily noon-2pm and 6-8pm.

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